What Made Choosing Your Smartphone so Hard?

What Made Choosing Your Smartphone so Hard?

The smartphone ecosystem has changed so much in the past five years, and we have come to point where mobile devices have become so unique and differentiated. Today there are so many varieties of smart phones one can ever think of.

There are thousands of manufacturers churning out devices,  and almost on a daily basis, new phones are launched. These days, making a choice of a smartphone is difficult. For first time users, this is a difficult task already, but for those of us accustomed to smartphones it is even more arduous.

Having to sift through the specifications we want is one thing, then balancing it with out budget could yet be something else entirely. Confusion might set in, and we’re stuck for months trying to figure out the best phone to buy. You can see a feature one phone comes with, and then you wish another phone would have the same feature. If it were possible, I know most of us would pick up features from many phones to build our own phone. If wishes were horses… Sadly, there’s no such thing as a perfect phone, so we eventually settle for something and give up the rest.

In the countries of the western world, people buy phones from carriers with accompanying data plans at subsidized prices. As is the case in many other countries, you often physically walk into a store to purchase a device. Think of yourself in such a situation. We’ll look at it from the eyes of a first time user, and then through the perceptive of a regular user. There are many options at stake when one wants to purchase a new device, and we’ll briefly look at them subsequently.

Different Operating systems

Besides iOS and Android – the most popular, there are many other operating systems for mobile devices out there. Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Tizen, Sailfish OS, Ubuntu, and other lesser known ones. A regular user might not have problems reaching a decision, but for a first time user, they’re probably clueless, and are at the mercy of the sales rep or whoever they meet to explain things for them. And these typically focus on the bigger two, due to commissions or plain popularity.

Screen sizes

Some people like it big while some others prefer the smaller screens. Screen sizes for smartphones range from 3.5 inch phones to the huge 6 inch slabs. People with small sized fingers (like me) prefer smaller screens. Personally, 4.5 inches remain my sweet spot. Apple users tend to like the smaller sized phones too. After getting so used to the Apple iPhone 5 and 5s models, most users refused to upgrade to the bigger iPhone 6 models. See the statistics. This demographic of users is the main reasons why Apple released the iPhone SE (“Special Edition”). So as a matter of fact, screen sizes matter to people and their eventual choice of smartphones.

Brand names

The thousands of brand names out there is another differentiating factor that greatly affects the choice of smart phones, and with the plethora of brand names out there, making a choice of smartphone could be one hell of a task.

This one is another aspect where people – especially noobs – have huge misconceptions. For instance, I’ve met people that still swear by Nokia. I’ve come across people that still stick to their hardware-qwerty BlackBerries. I’ve seen people that believe that Samsung are the only Android phone makers. Mentioning any other brand names would sound to them like explaining differential equations to a 4 year old! For the noobs, sticking with brand names can lead to blind purchases. For instance, buying a low-end Samsung phone or LG because of the great brand name. The more knowledgeable folks we have on XDA, already know that brand names really don’t matter, they also know that Chinese OEM’s offer better specced devices in the mid-range and low-end categories. But hey! Don’t criticize the new customers for their choices, they don’t know any better.


The wide disparity in specs is another issue phone buyers have to contend with. Should it be a 720p or 1080p display, or how many thousand mAh of battery do I want? Which processor type/speed? How many megapixels of camera (Front and back)? Can it be easily rooted or tweaked? What are the chances that its kernel would be released soonest? Careful consideration of specs has now become an essential exercise for people before making purchases of a phone these days, because it transcends the brand name and looks of the device.


The thousands of unique smartphones we have out there has both advantages and disadvantages. On the good side, we the customers are spoiled with choices. All we need do is make a choice that fits our budget and that’s it. The best advice I give people is to do some research before plunging into any new device to prevent regrets associated with ignorant purchases. One could go ahead and ask someone knowledgeable in the field for advice on what to purchase. At XDA, all of our writers are always willing to help!

Have you ever had problems with choices? Which device did you end up with?

About author

Etoniru Chibueze
Etoniru Chibueze

He's an avid researcher, gadget lover, and Mobile enthusiast. After using a variety of phones, he found rest on Android. When he's not thinking or writing mobile, he's looking for the next best custom ROM or tweak to test.